Society of Professional Journalists Awards PLNU Journalists

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

On June 28 several PLNU-connected journalists won major awards at the San Diego Society of Professional Journalists’ (SD SPJ) annual awards banquet, hosted at the Bali Hai. The awards honored a variety of journalism skills, such as investigative reporting, ethics and professionalism, and coverage of diverse voices. 

Journalism professors Drs. Dean Nelson and Sue Atkins served at the event as co-emcee and president of the SD SPJ board presiding for the evening, respectively. 

The Sol Price Prize for Responsible Journalism is one of the six special awards given to journalists whose work not only meets ethical standards but also shows uncommon sensitivity to issues. These journalists pursued truth in the face of such obstacles as unpopularity, economic retribution, or physical harm. This award went to PLNU journalism alumna Ashly McGlone (09), who is an investigative reporter with the Union Tribune (UT) San Diego newspaper, along with three other UT San Diego journalists for their “Sweetwater Schools Series.” The judges said of this piece, “It is inspiring to see such a great deal of watchdog journalism go into this story. It is obvious that the reporters who covered this story worked relentlessly to seek the truth.” 

The “Sweetwater Schools Series” also won first place for the category of Daily Reporting and Writing: Investigative/Enterprise Story – Single Subject. The judges said, “This was a great example of the power of the press and how a little investigative reporting can spur big changes in community. It’s great to see newspapers still give reporters time for this kind of work, and the value to its readers – and the public as a whole – is obvious. 

Another PLNU journalism alumnus, Nathan Scharn (10), who is also a reporter with the UT San Diego, won second place with his team members for their story “Freeway Shootings Rattle the Region.” 

Two recent journalism graduates also won awards for their articles in the Point Weekly campus newspaper, published in the 2011 contest year. Joanna O’Hanlon (11) won first place in the category College Media: News or Feature Series – Print/Online for her piece “A Horse Trainer and a Ministry Leader: A Tale of Two Strippers.” The judges said of her article, “This was an excellent piece, anchored by some very talented writing.” Kimberlee Kruesi (11) was an honorable mention in the category College Media: In-Depth Reporting Story – Print/Online for her article “Special Watchdog Report: Caf Inspections.”

Adjunct professor Doug Brunk also won a first place award in the category Non-daily Reporting & Writing: Health Story for his story “Pediatric News, Social Media Concerns, Confuses Parents.” The judges said this was a “Timely topic that looks at health from a different-than-usual viewpoint.”